All eyes were trained on the ancient city of Kaduna this weekend has it hosted not only the AFCON qualifying match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaohs of Egypt, but also played host to the crème de la crème of Nigerian football locally and internationally at the Bet9ja Nigerian Pitch Awards.
Held at the prestigious Hotel Seventeen in Kaduna, the evening was made significant as critical players, shapers and influencers in Nigerian Football were honored and recognized by their peers.
Executive Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, who was awarded the Special Achievement Award, received his award from current NFF Chairman Amaju Pinnick. The Governor said he was ‘humbled’ at such recognition, and after citing Kaduna’s great contribution to Nigerian football in terms of its talent, he pledged support “for any organization aiming to grow the sport of football in the state.”
Currently most capped player and Super Eagles Captain Mikel Obi also received the Player of the Year award, which was presented by Title Sponsors Bet9ja, represented by the Chairman, Mr. Kunle Soname.
Mr. Kunle Soname, Chairman Bet9ja, had this to say about the event.
“Bet9ja is delighted to be associated with an award ceremony, that rewards excellence, skills and hard work in football. As Nigeria’s foremost sports betting company, we’ve been involved in rewarding football fans that possess forecasting skills since we came into the business and as fans of Nigerian footballers, coaches and administrators, any event, which seeks to promote them will naturally attract our support.
It is therefore a source of joy for us to partner with Nigeria’s most prestigious football awards fully supported by the Nigeria Football Federation.”
Amaju Pinnick received the Sam Okwaraji award for his efforts in Nigeria football since he took over a year ago. Also at the impressive ceremony were NFF 1st Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi, 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman Shehu Dikko, Board Members Ibrahim Musa Gusau, Ahmed Yusuf Fresh, Sharif Rabiu Inuwa, Sunday Dele-Ajayi, Babagana Kalli, Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande and Chris Green, as well as General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi.
Winners on the night include:
Special Achievement Award
His Excellency, Nasir El-Rufai
Executive Governor, Kaduna State
Barr. Solomon Dalong
Minister of Sports
Sir Mike Mbama Okiro
Chairman, Police Service Commission
Dr. Mohammed Sanusi
General Secretary, Nigeria Football Federation
Queen of the Pitch
King of the Pitch
Football Achievement Award
Super Eagles Chief Coach
Rasheedi Yekini Award
Warri Wolves FC
Coach of the Year
U-17 Golden Eaglets
Football Friendly Governor of the Year
H.E Nyesom Wike
Sam Okwaraji Awards
Segun Odegbami - (Ex-International)
Amaju Pinnick - (Administrator)
John Obi Mikel - (Highest Number of Caps in the team)